Exciting News

Hey friends-

Many of you know that I spent 5 great years at Saddleback church as one of their worship directors. In the middle of my 4th year, God was calling me out of Saddleback (as pastor Rick always says, some are called to saddleback and some are called through saddleback). Although it wasn’t easy to leave, I knew God was planning something great for my future in ministry, but didn’t know what that looked like.

In February 2010, I packed up my car and drove out to Austin Texas to be near my family for a season. I have had such a great year with them and a lot of time to think about the calling that is on my life. A few ministry opportunities presented themselves in the area, but I knew it wasn’t the fit God had in mind for me.

In september 2010, I was given the opportunity to lead worship for a conference in Bellevue, WA (new life weekend, led by Steve Arterburn and the Newport team). On the way to the hotel from SeaTac airport, I was taken back by the beauty of the area (it was one of the few sunny days) and prayed that God would give me an opportunity for ministry in this area at some point in my life. Then I recalled that the former college pastor of saddleback (before my time) moved to the area to join a church in the area. I thought to myself, I wonder how Mike Howerton’s church is doing….. Then I continued on with the weekend as planned without any investigation or sharing of these prayer and thoughts with anyone.

A week later, I am back home in Austin and I get a text message from a friend and former boss, Matt McGill. It read something like this- “hey are you leading anywhere full-time right now? I know of a possible opportunity for you in seattle. As you can imagine this caught my attention. I texted him back and told him about my recent visit and the prayer for opportunity in the area. He then explained to me that his good buddy Mike Howerton is the pastor of a church called Overlake Christian Church in Redmond WA. I was in more shock when he mentioned mikes name. I more than welcomed mikes phone call the next day.

Mike and I spoke the following day and after a rigorous process of interviews and leading worship at over lake 3 different weekends, the elders made a unanimous decision to offer me the position of Worship Pastor. It has been 5 months since my first conversation with mike and I have had plenty of time to process and pray about this move. After seeking much council and affirmation of Gods call, I accepted the position. I’m currently writing this on a plane back to Austin where I will hit the road in a little more than a week for Seattle.

I’m beyond excited about this ministry that God has called me to. I already have established and will continue to establish a great community at overlake and am expectant for great things that are to come.

Would appreciate your prayers as I make the move. I am leaving behind my wonderful family in Austin. It will be especially hard to leave my nephews Noah, Owen and my niece Ashlyn. But know they will enjoy visiting uncle John in the northwest.

Thanks for taking the time to read this update.


8 Replies

  1. Erin Smith Reply

    Congrats John! You will be SOOOO great! Keith and I will keep you in our prayers.

  2. Nico Reply

    Wahoo! Amen! Thank you, LORD, for sending such a dear friend that much closer. John – we can’t wait to share more West Coast memories!

  3. Deb VanWestrienen Reply

    CONGRATS – SOOOO excited for you to join Overlake, it is a WONDERFUL place

  4. JR Reply


  5. James Reply

    Welcome to overlake! Your worship has been great so far and look forward to getting to know you and your passion for christ.

    My wife and I are on the Tech team. We do camera every 3rd sunday.

  6. Stacy McVane Reply

    So happy for you, J. Stearns! What an inspiration to see God make your dreams come true…praying for God’s perfect will in your life!

  7. Scott Jones Reply


    Attended a conference at Overlake called “Penial” back in 1983. While there, my wife Jackie called me with the news, “We’re having a baby.” It was our firstborn, your buddy Alex. Coincedence? I don’t think so!

    God’s best for you and OCC!


  8. Jonathan Alexander Reply

    hey john, welcome to the area. I’m the senior pastor at northshore baptist church in bothell/kirkland. mike and I are good buds. he’s already told me great things about you. glad to have you on the team, and I’m looking forward to meeting you personally.